Join Jim Hinckley for adventures on Route 66, two lane back roads, and along ancient cobblestone streets in medieval German villages, and meet some interesting people along the way. Travel tips, book reviews, tall tales, and a signature sense of humor ensure miles of smiles.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009


After a lengthy series of false starts it looks as though the refurbishment of the historic Old Trails Garage is on again. The center piece of this project will be the restoration and illumination of a towering circa 1930 neon lit Packard sales and service sign.
This is but one of several projects that we are hoping will be completed before the Route 66 Fun Run next May. Others would include the repair of the Harley Davidson themed murals on the old warehouse across from the Old Trails Garage, refurbishment and update of the Power House visitor center, and, perhaps, a mural or two.
If the unseasonably cool weather last week did nothing to dampen the adventuresome spirit of the motorcyclist exploring Route 66, I am quite sure the unseasonably warm weather this week will truly inspire them.
Last Saturday afternoon as we were exploring the previously noted mystery road above Goldroad it almost seemed as though the parade of motorcycles on Route 66 was an endless stream. As many were flying foreign banners it would be a safe bet to assume these examples of Harley Davidson's were rentals piloted by Europeans seeking the wonders of iconic Route 66.
Ghost Towns of Route 66 is beginning to coalesce into something tangible. With the assistance of Jerry McClanahan and Jim Ross, as well as Vickie Ashcraft of the New Mexico Route 66 Association, Tom Huber in Illinois, and Debra Holden with the Barstow Harvey House and Route 66 Museum, I now have a pretty good list of communities that will be profiled.
Kerrick James has gathered the lions share of the photos of the eastern half of the route for the project. Now we will concentrate on New Mexico, Arizona, and California this winter.
The one real fly in the ointment is my inability to schedule time for driving east on Route 66. Additional reasons and excuses are fast piling up for making the trip during the Thanksgiving week. Bob Waldmire's last art show in Springfield, Illinois, on the 22ND, the showing of Bones of the Old Road by Jim Ross at the historic Coleman theater in Miami, Oklahoma, on the 24Th are two of the best reasons I can think of.
In an ideal world where fish don't smell funny and roses don't have thorns I could take the drive to Springfield on US 66 and return on US 6, another lost highway and possibly the next project after Ghost Towns of Route 66. The latter would provide an opportunity to experience one of my favorite overlooked attractions, Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska, as well as share its wonders with my dearest friend.
In the mean time I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to return to the Goldroad area this weekend and explore the upper end of the mystery road below Sitgreave's Pass. It would seem we may an overlooked chapter in the history of Route 66 unfolding.
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Most of the products that I review, or books that I suggest, are travel related. This week I am deviating a bit. This book is a bit dry and scholarly, and it is written more for a British than American reader. On occasion it is a bit to succinct. Those caveats aside, I highly recommend this book, especially if your curious about the origins of the morass that is never ending conflict in the Middle East, the foundations of the EU, or the chain of events that gave rise to the Third Reich. However, what really makes this book a superb read and study is the timely nature of the content. In fact, I would go so far as to say that its relevance for the modern era is a bit unnerving. On the Great Depression, "Serious economic weakness within an unstable and imbalanced economy, magnified by nationalist protectionism and glorified self-interest, offered no firm basis for staving off the shock waves from across the Atlantic. Cultural divisions fostered extensive levels of prejudice and vitriol that could easily be exploited should there be a downturn in the social or intellectual climate." On the origins of World War I, "In most countries the imagery of enemies, internal as well as external, was built into political rhetoric that was reaching new levels of aggression. The mass media stirred animosities - usually intensely xenophobic and often out rightly racist - that governments were glad to encourage."

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Did you know that Henry Ford played a pivotal role in the establishment of Cadillac? Did you know that the Stanley brothers of steamer fame were responsible for the creation of Eastman Kodak? Did you know the original Chevrolet was an import? Did you know that cruise control was the creation of a blind inventor? Did you know that Buffalo Bill Cody drove a Michigan? Did you know that there are two ghost towns on Route 66 that have origins linked to the Santa Fe Trail? Did you know that there was only one lynching in Tombstone? As a fan of the Legends of America website for a number of years, it gives me great pleasure to announce that as a contributor I will be able to add stories such as these to this vast online treasure trove.


Jim's bookshelf: read

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
John Adams
Black Range Tales
The Kalamazoo Automobilist
Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion
Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer
Classic Chevrolet Dealerships: Selling the Bowtie
By Motor to the Golden Gate
The Last Convertible
Chrysler, Ford, Durant and Sloan: Founding Giants of the American Automotive Industry
Virgil Exner: Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine
Legendary Route 66: A Journey Through Time Along America's Mother Road
The Diary of a Young Girl
Five Lies of the Century
Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea
The Hiding Place
The Best of Robert Service

Jim's favorite books »

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